Sunday, December 04, 2005

Vienna (Weiner) - center of the musical world

For my final solo travel I decided to take the long trek to Vienna (Weiner in Austrian) for the weekend. I took a night train on Thursday night, allowing me Friday and Saturday for touring, and then returning over night on Saturday night/Sunday. My major motivation to go to Vienna was because of my life-long dedication to music. Vienna was clearly the center of classic music for the 18th, 19th, and the beginning of the 20th century. Such composers as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Berg, and Schoenberg all lived, composed, and/or directed in Vienna. My fantasies about the experience did not disappoint me!

Of course, my first challenge was finding a place to stay. I went to the Information center and was told that the entire city was booked up - yeah, sure. I think it was a ploy to get me to bump up what I was willing to pay for a room. Well, it worked. I paid $90 Euro which is almost double what I've been paying. However, it was a great hotel and in the middle of everything. The first picture is of the outside of the hotel on Neur Markt, right around the corner from shopping, St. Stephen's Cathedral, St. Peter's Catherdral, the Hofburg, and lots more.

Because I hadn't cleaned up, I exercised with a quick walk, came back to shower, and dressed up to hit the streets. I didn't know for sure what I was going to do for the evening/night but I had already scoped out all the music - there were so many options I had to narrow it down (more on that later). I strolled through the streets where there were thousands of shoppers out for the holidays. Many of the city streets are pedestrian walk-ways and beautifully lighted (second picture). There was soft snow floating through the air and people enjoying the festive holiday spirit. Seeing people was really wonderful but I do have a slight "heads-up" for those who want to travel this wonderful city... Many of the people are very abrupt, impatient, and unfreindly - a marked contrast to the people of Luzern or to those in Paris for that matter. I don't know if it was the shopping atmosphere or what but some of the pedestrians were as agressive as Amsterdam cyclists - pretty freightening.

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